In Unit 20, we discussed sthUla sharIra.

In Units 21 and 22 we reviewed sUkShma sharIra (subtle body).

In this unit, we will look at how other philosophies describe the svarUpa of jIva: we will then examine them in the light of the shruti.

Various Views about Jiva.

chArvAka view.

chAru - agreeable or pleasing, vAka - speaker; One who speaks agreeably and/or pleasantly is a chAruvAka. Without dwelling deep into philosophy,
they advance a theory that is pleasant to hear. So this name seems appropriate. A chArvAka says "AtmA vy putrah - he will be born as son"; " svasmin iva putrE api prEmadarshanAth putrE puShTE naShTe cha aham Eva puShTO naShTa-scha ityAdi anubhavAcca putrah AtmA iti vadati - just as a jIva has love for his son, as he has for himself and as the son progresses or is dying, the jIva feels that he is progressing or is dying (the jIva identifies with the emotions of son), the son is the Atman or self". This line is pleasing for all of us who love our children. So the chArvAka says his child is self. Other chArvAka statements include the gross body is self (sa vA ESha puruShO anna rasa mayah), the sense organs are self , the prANAs are self (anyO antara AtmA prANamayah), the mind is self (anyO antara AtmA manOmayah) etc.

[ The chArvAkAs and Buddhists don't believe in the shruti; the shruti
statements cited above and below is for the benefit of the vEdAntin to
reconcile an association ].

Buddhist view.

" bouddhastu - anyO antara AtmA vijnyAna mayah ityAdi shrutEh kartuh abhAvE karaNasya shakti-abhAvAt aham kartA aham bhOktA ityAdi anubhavAccha buddhih AtmA - iti vadati" - The Buddhist says Atma is the vijnyAnamaya which is inside the manOmaya. The Buddhist says, "I am the doer, I am the experiencer is the general experience of all jIvas": Therefore buddhi is the Atma (the buddhi here is not the part of anthahkaraNa discussed previously; It is the waves of knowledge). This is the view of the vijnyAnavAdi Buddhists. The soutAntrika Buddhists believe the outside jagat as satya or real and so also the mind. The mAdhyamIka Buddhists declare that there is no "satya" or Real entity. Every thing is shUnya or void. This Buddhist argues that this jagat was unreal before creation, nothing exists in deep sleep; so the self is shUnya.

mImAmsa view.

prAbhAkara tArkitou to "anyO antara AtmA Ananada mayah ityAdi shrutEh buddhyAdInAm ajnyAnE layadarshanAt aham ajnyah aham jnyAnI ityAdi anubhavAccha ajnyAnam AtmA iti vadatah".

bhATTastu "prajnyAnaghana EvAnandamayah (ManDukya upanishat -5) ityAdi shrutEh suShuptou prakAsha-aprakAsha-sadbhAvAt mAm aham na jAnAmi ityAdi anubhavAccha ajnyAnOpahitam chaitanyam AtmA iti vadati".

shabara muni has written a commentary on Jaimini mImAmsa. prabhAkara misra and kumArilla bhaTTa have written interpretations on the shabara muni commentary. Followers of prabhAkara interpretation are prAbhAkaras and followers of bhaTTa interpretation are bhATTas.

The prAbhAkara argument goes like this - the taittirIta says vijnyAnamaya encloses the self Anandamaya; the buddhi merges (lost) in ajnyAna and the experience of the jIva that I am ignorant (ajnya), I am knowledgeable(jnyAni); so the prAbhAkaras say "ajnyAna is jIva ".

The bhATTa argument goes like this - The jIva is prajnyAna Ghana and Anandamaya (mAnDUkya); in deep sleep jnyAna and ajnyAna are both present - waking from deep sleep, he says "I slept well, did not know a thing"; I did not know a thing is the ajnyAna; however, even to recall good sleep, there should be jnyAna; so both jnyAna and ajnyAna are both present in deep sleep. So the bhATTa argues that Atma is the consciousness having the upAdhi of ajnyAna; the Atma is neither totally insentient nor totally consciousness; it is a mix of both.

All the above views contradict each other and therefore none of them identify the svarUpa of jIva. The above views have already been refuted (logically) in rejecting the gross body, subtle body and the causal body as the svarUpa of jIva. The refutation of the above views based on shruti pramANa follows below.

"kaschit dhIrah pratyagAtmAnamaikShat Avritta chakSkuh amritatvam icchan"

- seeking immortality, a wise person withdrew from the sense organs and focused inwards on the Atman - (kaTha upanishat 4.1)" - this rejects that the son is the Atman, since son is outside him.

" asthUlah anaNuh."

not gross, not atomic (BrihadAraNyaka Upanishat 3.8.8) - this rejects that the gross body is Atman.

" aprANO hya manAh shubrah"

- void of prANa and manas, He is supreme (or pure) (munDaka upanishat 2.1.2) - this rejects that prAna and manas are Atman.

"achakShuh-shrOtram tadapANipAdam"

- It has no eyes, eyes or limbs (munDaka upanishat 1.1.6) - this rejects that organs are Atman.

"anantaschAtmA vishwarUpO hyakartA"

- Atman is limitless, cosmic and non-doer (shvEtAShwatara upanishat 1.9) - This rejects that buddhi (knowledgeable doer) is Atman.

"na chAsti vEtta mama chitsadA aham"

- None know me, I am the permanent bliss (kaivalya upanishat- 21) - this negates that ajnyAna is Atman.

"chinmAtrO aham sadAshivah"

- I am ever auspicious pure consciousness (kaivalya upanishat 18) - This rejects the argument that Atman is a mix or composite of inert and sentient.

"tat satyam sa AtmA"

- It is Real, He is Atman (chAndOgya 6.8.7) ,

"sadEva soumyEdamagra AsIt"

- "soumya!, prior to creation, this jagat was the Reality" - these statements reject that Atman is shUnya or void.

These statements of shruti negate the views of other philosophies about Atman. Logically also, it is evident that any object that needs the the support of an external source of light (consciousness) to be cognized (like light coming from a window to cognize an object) is inert; all inert objects are impermanent and unreal. So the son, gross body, sense organs are all impermanent and unreal and cannot be Atman.

Until now we discussed what Atman is not. The review is incomplete without
discussing what Atman is!

We will take up this study of discussing shruti's declaration of the svarUpa of jIva or who jIva is in the next unit.

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).

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